Getting your bodybuilding diet right is absolutely crucial for your success!
As strange as it may sound, there is a way of mimicking the effects of anabolic steroids by implementing a few secrets of anabolic nutrition. I call this the ‘MuscleHack Anabolic Nutritional Strategy‘ (MANS).
I’m not saying that you’ll see the same gains as a roidhead, you won’t. No natural diet will replicate the effects of anabolic steroids. However, your results will far surpass anything you are currently experiencing, and that’s a promise!
In the next 15 – 20 minutes I will introduce you to the nutritional strategy that will revolutionize your bodybuilding life.
And there’s more…
You can make these gains in muscle without the correlating gains in fat! Yep, you really can build new slabs of muscle with very little or no fat. Those with great genetics can actually find the holy-grail of bodybuilding as they build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
NOTE: If you’d like free meal plans for living this new anabolic lifestyle, simply input your details below and click the button for immediate download. It’s a 50-page booklet packed with high protein daily meal plans from as low as 1600 Calories up to 3600 Calories per day. No more headaches trying to design daily meal plans! Yes it is 100% free, written by MuscleHack owner Mark McManus, and there are no catches. You can get more details on the book here if you wish.
A Bodybuilding Diet That Works!
Friends, I have no interest in hyperbole or bullshit; this nutritional strategy works. It took me years to find it, implement it correctly and reap the rewards. I had to find out for myself how to build lean muscle mass like never before while keeping fat accumulation at bay. It was well worth the effort though.
So if it’s the best bodybuilding diet in existence, why isn’t it more widely known? The big supplement companies and rag-magazines would go out of business quickly if they couldn’t peddle their snake-oil to you. If the general public were more nutrition-savvy, they’d crap themselves! I doubt very much they’d go out of their way to make the public aware of it.
This article lays these secrets bare for you to learn. Implement this process wisely and I promise you will make muscle gains like never before.
Please note that this method takes planning and commitment but it is well worth it! Also please make sure your workouts are up to par by implementing ‘MuscleHack THT Training.’
Before I go any further I want to credit a few people as sources of great information and inspiration. They are:
Why The MANS Bodybuilding Diet Is The Best
So how can this nutritional strategy produce massive muscle gains? There is a way to increase anabolic (muscle building) hormones in the body in the same way that steroids do. The only difference is, it’s safe and natural.
This diet will naturally maximize your body’s production of the following anabolic hormones:
Sounds good doesn’t it? You will also have controlled insulin spikes which allows the body to have high levels of growth hormone and insulin at the same time! This does not usually happen and you’ll see extremely impressive muscle gains as a result.
What Causes Muscle Growth?
Ok, apart from the actual exercise itself, what is the driver of muscle hypertrophy? We’ve been told over and over again that it’s excess calories; you must eat more calories than you expend to encourage muscle growth. I’m going to hypothesize something a little controversial.
Calories are also an effect, not just a cause.
Think of a growing child. Are we to assume that vertical growth is caused by excess calories? I think the release of Growth Hormone is what makes a child grow. Increased growth hormone then causes the child to eat more. I think we have causality round the wrong way here.
The traditional advice from bodybuilding gurus is to eat everything in sight to increase muscle size. They usually recommend high carb diets laden with oats, protein shakes with fruit, wholemeal bread, potato, rice (I don’t care if it’s white or brown) etc. Worse still, they often recommend a low-fat diet!
Hey, I thought you were trying to grow some serious muscle? If so, you’re gonna want to keep the fat intake up.
If I’m right, then what we want to devise is a nutritional strategy that ignites the release of anabolic hormones. In turn then, these hormones will let us know when and how much to eat.
By getting hungry – just like a growing child does. See how causality has been reversed? It’s no longer
Excess Calories = Muscle Growth
Anabolic Hormones = Muscle Growth (which will drive your appetite & provide sufficient calories).
Don’t get me wrong, sufficient calories are required to build muscle, but it’s important to understand the chain of causality.
Calorie consumption isn’t something you need to labor over which will cripple your life. Let your body dictate your food intake. The best calorie-counter is your stomach; when you’re hungry – eat; when you’re not; don’t eat.
Breakdown of MANS Bodybuilding Diet
This plan requires that you eat a high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet for 5 and a half days. Then for 36 hours you carb-up. The high protein, high fat part of the diet is what sparks the increase in blood serum levels of:
- Growth Hormone
- IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor production is stimulated by growth hormone).
As you will be keeping your carbohydrate level low for most of the week, your body will become a fat-burning machine. At the beginning of the diet your body will undergo a ‘metabolic shift’ and start to burn fat as its primary source of energy. This can take as little as 2 days and up to 14 days for some people. However, the vast majority of you will have become fat-adapted by the end of your first 5 and a half days.
The advantages of this are:
- Increased Lipolysis (breakdown of fat)
- Decreased Lipogenesis (production of fat)
- Decreased catabolism (muscle protein is spared from breakdown)
Insulin Isn’t your Enemy
Regular low-carb dieters want to avoid spikes in insulin levels but for the bodybuilder, a controlled spike will do you a world of good. You’ll use a 32-36 hour window (I use the weekends for this) to deliberately cause an insulin spike. Friday 6pm to midnight on Saturday works well for me.
Insulin can make you fat, no doubt about it. Insulin has a dramatic effect on decreasing lipolysis i.e. as insulin regulates fat metabolism, large amounts means that your body will not give up its fat stores for energy; it literally shuts the gates to your stored body fat ensuring that it can’t be released and used for energy. Having said that, insulin is not the enemy of the bodybuilder.
Increasing insulin through a carb-loading period is beneficial because:
- It helps shuttle amino acids into the muscle cells
- Increases Protein Synthesis in skeletal muscle
- Glycogen supercompensation (Replenish Muscle Glycogen To Fuel Workouts).
Growth Hormone & Insulin
As stated previously you will also reap the anabolic effects of increasing insulin, growth hormone and testosterone at the same time. Usually when insulin levels increase, the others decrease and vise versa.
It seems that the body (once fat adapted) sees the intake of high carbs at the weekend as a stressful situation and releases growth hormone as a survival mechanism. Increased Growth hormone is your body’s way of mobilizing energy stores to deal with this stressful situation and so at this time you can get elevated insulin and growth hormone levels simultaneously – welcome to muscle building heaven!
Traditional High-Carb Muscle-Building Diets
On a high carb diet, (usually recommended for the bulking phase of a bodybuilding lifestyle) insulin levels are chronically elevated. You therefore don’t get the edge of maximum release of testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1. Also on the high carb approach, you prevent your body from using body fat for fuel and actually encourage the laying down of new body fat. That’s
- Decreased Lipolysis
- Increased Lipogenesis
…not good news friends . What this anabolic nutritional strategy does is take advantage of the anabolic properties of insulin and, at the same time, restricts the fattening properties of the hormone. This bodybuilding diet will keep insulin levels steady and low most of the time but you will also be creating carefully timed spikes for explosive muscle growth.
Your Unique Carbohydrate Threshold Level
The best thing about this bodybuilding diet is that it’s tailor-fitted to your unique metabolic type; it’s not a one-size-fits-all diet. You will find your unique carb threshold level and this will allow you to:
- Gain muscle without fat
- Lose fat without sacrificing lean mass (when cutting)
Your carb threshold level can be defined as
“The lowest possible daily carbohydrate intake that allows you to function at top level”
Since we’re concerned with building muscle, we need to find the lowest amount of carbs you need in a day to not only feel good but hammer out muscle-building workouts that continually improve, week-on-week.
I recommend you start out at 30 grams per day and adjust from there. Don’t make any changes to this for at least a week because you need to make the metabolic switch to burning fat for fuel first. Once this is completed you will be able to tell from your workout performances whether or not you need some more carbs (if so increase in 5 gram per day increments).
I personally average at around 27 grams of carbohydrate per day for 5 and a half days. Some days I take in 35 grams but on others just 20 grams. Going higher or lower is fine, just check your weekly averages. This low amount of carbohydrate is enough to power me through some amazing workouts; I’ve got bags of energy and feel great .
Some of you may be wondering about post-workout carbs. With this dietary approach, they are not needed and may actually be counter-productive. For a full break down of why this is the case, please read my article ‘Post-Workout Carbs – Crucial or Counter-Productive?‘
I remember being advised years ago that I needed around 60 – 100 grams of post-workout carbs to encourage muscle hypertrophy. It’s no surprise now, with a little education, that I got fat. Also, remember creating daily insulin spikes will have an adverse effect on growth hormone levels so follow this to the letter.
Your Carb-Up Period
This is perfect as you can enjoy your life too after being so strict during the week. Have some pizza, Chinese, whatever you feel like. Take your woman out for a meal, have some beers with the guys and rest assured that your actually benefiting from this. I limit the junk meals to 2 and the rest of the time I eat a mostly high-carb, moderate fat, moderately low-protein diet.
It isn’t an excuse to go completely nuts but let your hair down a little. Again, there’s no reason to eat passed satiation, let your gut decide how much to eat.
There is no real limit on the amount of carbs you can have. The key is just to watch the time it takes for you to begin to smooth-out (lose definition); it may take a little bit of experimentation at first and it will be different for everyone; 32 hours works great for me. You’ll notice that evey week you go through a mini-cycle of being bigger and smaller; this is just due to fluctuating water levels. When you begin to low-carb you’ll flush out some water, it’s perfectly natural.
Continually monitor your weight in conjunction with your body fat levels. If you notice that by Saturday afternoon, you’re smoothing out a little bit too much, you know that you’ll have to limit your carb-up period to 24 hrs; keep monitoring and adjusting as necessary.
Won’t I get Fat if I Eat Too Many Calories on the Low-Carb, Weekday Section?
In a word – No. It’s a little different for when you’re cutting (and I’ll get into that in later articles) but for gaining muscle and simply maintaining your current body fat levels it’s damn-near impossible to gain fat with this anabolic nutritional strategy. Remember that insulin is key here; you’ll be keeping insulin levels very low for the majority of the time. This is the (over-simplified) mechanism of lipogenesis:
Carbs – Increased Blood Sugar – Insulin increased – Triglycerides – Adipose Tissue (body fat)
From Healing Daily website.
“These triglycerides in the blood are the direct result of carbohydrates from the diet being converted by insulin. These triglycerides do not come directly from dietary fats. They are made in the liver from any excess sugars which have not been used for energy.”
I’d also like to borrow from an example from Dr Michael Eades’ blog, if I may, to illustrate the point.
“These type I diabetics have no insulin so they can’t really stuff fat into their fat cells. And they are breaking protein down, converting it to glucose and urinating it away. They are voraciously hungry and eat, eat, eat but they can’t store any fat…Their fragile situation demonstrates that in the absence of insulin it’s virtually impossible to gain weight. After following a low-carb diet for a while, our overweight patients lower their insulin levels, so, as with type I diabetics, it is difficult for them to store fat as well. They crank up all the futile cycling, elevate levels of uncoupling protein synthesis and increase proton leakage to dissipate the excess energy they’re consuming, but they don’t store it as fat….If you start throwing back the carbs, however, you will lose this advantage.”
I hope you can now see the huge benefit there is to eating this way. The bodybuilding world is still largely clueless of this. I urge you to take advantage of this knowledge!
What To Eat On Your Low-Carb Days
For menu ideas please see the low carb recipe section. Examples include:
- Taco Salad
- Low Carb Tortillas with meat and any low-carb sauce (mayo, ranch, blue cheese)
- Chicken Goujons / Breaded Chicken
- Chicken Curry
- Beef Kebabs
- Homemade Protein Bar
- Sugar-free Jell-O with Squirty Cream on top
- Hot Cocoa made with cream
That’s the ‘M.A.N.S.’ bodybuilding diet plan laid bare for you. Question is, what are you going to do with it?
I encourage you to stop, once and for all, the endless bulking/fattening cycle followed by cutting (losing as much muscle as fat) year on year.
It DOES NOT need to be this way.
I urge you to join me in this way of eating. Many, many people have seen awesome changes as a result of implementing my dietary guidelines, check out their testimonials.
Stay tuned for recipes to help you live this truly anabolic lifestyle by subscribing here.
UPDATE : For newbies to MANS, here’s a list of further reading here at MuscleHack:
- How To Build More Muscle On The MANS Diet – Including the Mid-Week Carb-Spike
- The No.1 Mistake People Make On The MANS Diet
- How Many Calories Per Day Do I Need To Build Muscle? – I say you don’t need to be concerned about excess calories, but you may want to make sure you’re getting the minimum requirement.
- How To Calculate Net Carbs – Remember, it’s only Net Carbs you need to count, this is important
- What Fruit Can I Eat On A Low Carb Diet?
- What Every Bodybuilder Should Eat For Dinner
- What If You Can’t Get Fat On A High-Fat Diet?
- Want To Build Muscle? Eat Your Beef! – Red Meat is a staple on the MANS diet
- The Saturated Fat & Cholesterol Myth Destroyed! – Don’t believe the hype! This bodybuilding diet is very healthy
Folks, I have spent countless hours laboring over this article for you. This article can really benefit people in the pursuit of their body goals without resorting to anabolic steroids.Can I ask something in return?
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